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My Town: Lakeshore family gets triple surprise at Meijer

My Town: Lakeshore family gets triple surprise at Meijer

NORTON SHORES, Mich.—A West Michigan family received three surprises while shopping at Meijer for the holidays.

Not only did the store cover Elizabeth Flores’ bill, but co-chairman Doug Meijer and other team members surprised Flores with items that didn’t make it into her grocery cart.  During her trip down the aisles, Flores picked up some gifts, but eventually returned them to store shelves because she was worried she couldn’t pay for them.  Little did she know, Doug Meijer and store employees were picking up those discarded items to surprise her with at checkout.  Doug Meijer also added a bicycle and helmet to Flores’ complimentary order, for her 7-year-old son, Octavio.

Meijer picked up the tab for 213 shoppers this season, as part of its inaugural Very Merry Meijer event on Dec. 13.  Co-chairman Hank Meijer and President J.K. Symancyk also took part in the giveaway at the 28th Street and Plainfield Avenue stores, respectively.

My Town: No school, no problem! Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

My Town: No school, no problem!  Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

During the winter break from school, many students will pack away their books and turn their attention away from learning. 

To help ensure your students are still learning, statewide virtual learning school, Michigan Connections Academy, is sharing activities you can do as a family to keep your young students busy and their brains active over the break.

1.       Practice math while baking holiday cookies. Students struggle with fractions and always want to know when they will “use math in real life.” The perfect time to practice fractions is while you are baking cookies. Two-thirds of a cup plus 1/3 of a cup equals one whole cup, which your child will see as you work on making those cookies, helping develop a real life connection to what they are learning in school.

My Town: Meijer shoppers receive checkout surprise

WALKER, Mich.—Christmas came early to 213 Meijer shoppers, who received a checkout surprise.


On Dec. 13, the Walker-based retailer paid for all of the gifts and groceries filling each shopper’s cart, ranging from $350 to $1,200 each.  The company posted video of the event on YouTube, which you can find here.


“The holidays are a time for kindness and joy, and the Very Merry Meijer event was a perfect opportunity for us to share the spirit of the season with those we hold dear: our customers,” Co-Chairman Hank Meijer said. “Our family has always believed that our customers don’t need us, but that we need them. That philosophy still guides us today. We are very thankful for our customers, and wanted to find a special way to wish them a very Merry Christmas.”


From a two-man shop to a global powerhouse: Gill Industries' story of success

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—  In a time when 8 out of 10 businesses fail, one local company is celebrating 50 years of success.

Plainfield Township Supervisor Jay Spencer issued a proclamation this month recognizing Gill Industries’ milestone.

Gill Industries started in 1964 as a small tool and die company run by John Gill and his brother-in-law, Gerald Williams.  Since then, it’s grown drastically, adding stamping products in the 1970s, welding and assembly in the 1980s and a more complex design and engineering system in the 1990s.  In 1985, Gill’s wife, Rita Williams took over the company, growing sales from nearly $8 million to more than $100 million.  In 2010, she handed over the reigns to her daughters Rita Woodruff and Mary Gill-Thornton, who serve as co-CEOs, continuing the family business, which is now a global supplier.

Gill industries now employs 1,898 people across the world, including 620 in Michigan.  

My Town: Protect your child - free car seat safety checks

My Town: Protect your child -  free car seat safety checks

LOWELL, Mich.—Two out of three child car seats are being used incorrectly, and with holiday travel ramping up in the coming weeks, now is the time to make sure your little one is protected on the road.

The Lowell Fire Department will be hosting a free car seat safety check this Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Officers and community volunteers will check each infant car seat and child booster seat to make sure they are correctly installed in your vehicle.  Qualified families can also purchase a discounted replacement seat, while supplies last.

The car seat safety check is part of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention program. Similar events are planned for 2015 at the following times and locations:

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Diocese of Grand Rapids has hired two more people to ramp up enrollment for its Catholic schools.

Dan Plachta will serve as an admissions enrollment field consultant, guiding the diocese’s 29 schools in outreach and recruitment. While supporting current students, the diocese plans to focus on traditionally underserved groups who could take advantage of school tuition assistance, which is quadrupling to $1,000,000.

Plachta is an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament School (now All Saints Academy) and Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids.

“As a graduate of Catholic schools in the diocese, Dan brings a personal passion for the importance of Catholic education in West Michigan,” said David Faber, superintendent of Catholic schools.